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If you’re about to join the 20 million college students who attend college each year, it’s a good idea to give some thought to your computer skills.
As online classes become more popular and digital jobs grow every year, it’s crucial that you have a strong understanding of how to use your computer.
We’re here to make your transition into college easier by providing technology tips. For the best technology advice for new college students, keep reading!
Top 7 Useful Technology Tips for New College Students
Is this your first year in college? Congratulations! Don’t fret if you’re unsure what to expect. To make your tech transition into college easier, check these tips out…
1. Keep Backups
Always store a backup of your data. You’ve likely experienced the horrible feeling of working on a paper for hours, only to discover that the computer lost all of your work.
Take advantage of tools like cloud storage so that you always have a backup of your data. Companies like Dropbox let you create a free account that encrypts your data in transfer and storage.
You can also store copies of your documents on Google Docs. To access these documents later, all you’ll need is your email log-in and an internet connection. Even better, documents on Google Docs automatically save when you’re working on them.
2. Save & Submit Work As PDFs
Sometimes, you’ll run into professors who want you to submit documents in the form of Words Docs. Others may not have a preference. But for the most part, you should be submitting your homework as PDFs.
Sending your work as a PDF makes everyone’s lives easier. PDFs are universal – regardless of the application used, the fonts you chose, and the size fete images, anyone can view the PDF as it was made by the creator.
With a PDF, anyone you send the document to will have no trouble viewing it. They won’t encounter formatting issues or difficulty downloading.
3. Use Technology to Help Your Grammar
College may be the last phase of your life before you enter the professional workforce. There’s no better time than now to master your grammar.
And while you may remember having to learn phonics and grammar rules with flashcards when you were little, technology makes mastering grammar much less complicated.
You can use your computer to take your grammar skills to the next level. Computer software tools like Grammarly will check your spelling, make corrections to fix errors, and will check for accidental plagiarism.
It’s a cloud-based tool, so you can log into any and all student computers to continue writing. Along the way, you’ll notice your most common mistakes and can learn how to fix them. And it’s free!
4. Acknowledge Your Past Accomplishments
Just because you’re entering college doesn’t mean that your accomplishments from the past don’t matter anymore. It’s important to keep a digital copy of everything you’ve achieved thus far, from volunteer hours to academic honors.
You can present much of this information in your resume. For the first year or two of college, you’ll want to include information about your experience in high school because you won’t have many college activities on your resume yet.
You’ll also begin the process of creating your LinkedIn when you enter university. There are sections in LinkedIn where you can describe all of these amazing accomplishments you have achieved.
For examples of academic honors you can include, read this article.
5. Use Electronic Textbooks
Long gone are the days when you need to take hard-copy textbooks everywhere you go. Do yourself a favor and lighten up your backup by using electronic textbooks.
Not only are electronic textbooks lighter, but you can bring them anywhere you have your computer. Some online textbooks providers even have log-in portals, so you can access your textbooks anywhere you have an internet connection.
For those of you who are concerned about the ability to take notes on an electronic textbook format, don’t worry – online textbooks are becoming increasingly-user friendly. Many allow you to take notes on pages, including highlighting key passages.
6. Master The Microsoft Suite
Mastering computer skills is key to landing your dream job. While some skills may depend on the job, others are universal. One of those universal skills that everyone would benefit from mastering is the Microsoft Suite.
Microsoft consists of common applications including Word, Powerpoint, Excel, and Outlook, to name a few. These four are the golden four for acquiring the skills you need to land you more jobs.
For instance, consider Excel. Below are some of the top Excel skills that employers look for:
- Sorting of statistics
- Advanced Excel functions
- Proper data validation
- Locking cells
- Proper data formatting
Do any of these sound like a foreign language to you? Don’t worry – there are plenty of opportunities to become more familiar with Excel and other Microsoft tools.
Check out your school’s courses. They may offer classes that will teach you about Microsoft and can help you get certified. If not, there are numerous classes online that can teach you what you need to know.
7. Master The Keyboard
How fast can you type? The average typing speed is about 40 WPM. Before you begin college, take an online typing test to see where you land.
If your typing speed is below that 40 WPM, it’s a good idea to spend some time mastering the keyboard. No matter what job you enter after you graduate, being able to communicate quickly and without error is a must.
And if you type about 40 wpm, see if you can improve that score. Set a goal for yourself each year of college and track your progress. The faster you type, the more competitive you’ll become.
Keep in mind that different industries may consider different typing speeds to be proficient. If you want to work in a writing field, you’ll need to type much faster than 40 WPM to have a competitive advantage.
Technology Advice For New College Students
We hope that our technology advice for new college students has helped you be aware of key tech skills you can focus on in college.
For more technology advice and expertise, visit our blog!